The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby Schaublin » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:55 am

m0rl0ck wrote:In america, minorities get respect to the degree that they can:

1. Affect the economic health with their buying choices.

2. Disrupt trade (protests, sit ins etc)

Thats one of the reasons that this insulting racial caricature survives into the 21st century
Image

So unless there are enough offended viewers to affect the sale of goods, the misrepresentation is likely to continue.



What about this one from All Nippon Airways? The engineered hysteria about this subject of "rayceesm" is both amusing and frightening. Help! We are all victims of racism! We are being offended by stuff! :cry: Please nanny state, make it go away and all the naughty people be told off and made to stand in the corner.

Image

http://www.japancrush.com/2014/videos/r ... rners.html
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:57 am

I recommend just unplugging your TV set!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:13 am

dhammafriend wrote:
How are we going to know that they are Buddhist.....I really don't see how you are wanting the buddhistic aspect of the characters to be presented.

How do you know someone is Jewish / Muslim / Christian / a barber / a chef in a TV show Chownah? :smile: How do you know any character's backstory? Through character development I would hope.

Am I being too obscure here? Please note, I do not want anything. Its something that I've come away with having been exposed to US television programing most of my life. Representation or lack their of is often a reflection of what the broader culture's views are about itself and its sub-groups.

I just think that what you don't see is just a interesting as what you do see. If there are any POC members who'd like to join in and continue this thread, be my guest.

Dhammafriend.

You have not answered my question. How are you going to depict a character in a way that someone watching will know that they are Buddhist?.......specifically what would you show or have them say? In Thailand on TV there is virtually nothing to show that the characters are Buddhist and this is in a tv genre where practically EVERY character is Buddhist......

It seems to me that you are under the mistaken assumption that in everyday life that the typical Buddhist displays their Buddhism in some way.....which from what I have seen both in Asia and in the US is wrong....in real life situations you pretty much can't tell the Buddhists from the Christians.

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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby Mkoll » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:28 am

chownah,

That may be a good generalization in real life. But in the media, when the director or producer wants to show that someone is of a certain stripe, they will use a symbol that is as familiar to as many people as possible. For example, a Jewish person might have a yarmulke and a bushy beard. A chef might have be overweight and wear an apron or a chef's hat. Muslims are often shown as terrorists in American media or wearing their traditional garb. A barber might have his uniform on or be particularly interested in someone's hair and may possibly be gay. A Buddhist monk would be depicted wearing robes and would be Asian. A lay Buddhist...that's pretty hard. There have been no TV or movies featuring them in my memory.

Or an action hero will have big muscles and look really serious all the time. Or a ditsy woman will make asinine comments and wear revealing clothing. Or a person from the ghetto will be speaking in ghetto slang and wear baggy clothes.

Those are just a few basic examples. If you're an American and watch or have watched enough American TV and movies, as I have, you get a feel for the triteness of these things.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby Ben » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:24 am

Dhammafriend,

Do yourself a favour and turn your TV off.
There are plenty of better things to do with your time.
Kind regards,
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:34 am

Thank you, Ben!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby dhammafriend » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:12 am

You have not answered my question. How are you going to depict a character...

Based on your replies I can only assume you haven't read/understood my post Chownah. So your question is based on a misunderstanding of my post.

What about this one from All Nippon Airways? The engineered hysteria about this subject of "rayceesm" is both amusing and frightening...

I don't exactly see how that's equivalent. Native Americans were virtually wiped out then banished to reservations. Lets not derail the thread please, keep it on topic.

Do yourself a favour and turn your TV off.

Thanks Ben, yes the TV has its off time! My practice is focused on Lay Dhamma as life is hectic at the moment with work & social / family obligations. I have regular sitting sessions, meet with monks about every 2 weeks, make food dana etc. That's about what I can manage right now. :smile:

Thanks for the replies everyone.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:29 am

dhammafriend wrote: Although Asian Americans are a bit better represented than 10 years ago they are often culturally, virtually indistinguishable from anyone else represented.
Dhammafriend

This is probably because the vast majority of Asian Americans are in fact culturally indistinguishable from anyone else......and quite frankly the possibility that an Asian American might be Buddhist is not something that most Americans really want to know about because it is alien to most Americans who think that Buddhism is a form of idol worship.....and to a certain degree they are right........and most Asians Americans who are Buddhist aren't really keen on displaying it publicly and would rather keep it a private thing to keep the Christian evangelicals away among other things. Being a Buddhist does not help you to fit in at the typical social gathering in America...it it probably ok to mention it but only if asked....in America, idol worship is a no-go except for the American Idol show I guess.......don't know for sure.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:40 am

chownah wrote:
dhammafriend wrote: Although Asian Americans are a bit better represented than 10 years ago they are often culturally, virtually indistinguishable from anyone else represented.
Dhammafriend

This is probably because the vast majority of Asian Americans are in fact culturally indistinguishable from anyone else......and quite frankly the possibility that an Asian American might be Buddhist is not something that most Americans really want to know about because it is alien to most Americans who think that Buddhism is a form of idol worship.....and to a certain degree they are right........and most Asians Americans who are Buddhist aren't really keen on displaying it publicly and would rather keep it a private thing to keep the Christian evangelicals away among other things. Being a Buddhist does not help you to fit in at the typical social gathering in America...it it probably ok to mention it but only if asked....in America, idol worship is a no-go except for the American Idol show I guess.......don't know for sure.
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Those naughty Americans.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby Ben » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:Those naughty Americans.

SPANK THEM, I say!
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby binocular » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:32 am

Mkoll wrote:That may be a good generalization in real life. But in the media, when the director or producer wants to show that someone is of a certain stripe, they will use a symbol that is as familiar to as many people as possible. For example, a Jewish person might have a yarmulke and a bushy beard. A chef might have be overweight and wear an apron or a chef's hat. Muslims are often shown as terrorists in American media or wearing their traditional garb. A barber might have his uniform on or be particularly interested in someone's hair and may possibly be gay. A Buddhist monk would be depicted wearing robes and would be Asian. A lay Buddhist...that's pretty hard. There have been no TV or movies featuring them in my memory.

Or an action hero will have big muscles and look really serious all the time. Or a ditsy woman will make asinine comments and wear revealing clothing. Or a person from the ghetto will be speaking in ghetto slang and wear baggy clothes.

Those are just a few basic examples. If you're an American and watch or have watched enough American TV and movies, as I have, you get a feel for the triteness of these things.

To be fair (although my knowledge of these things is mostly a bit old, I'm not particularly up-to date with what goes on on American tv) the representation of Muslims from traditional Muslim countries, as well as Hindus from traditional Hindu countries is also very scarce or non-existent in popular American tv programmes, at least as far as leading characters go. While they often enough appear in minor roles as cab drivers, owners of small shops and terorrists, beyond that it's like they don't exist. Even though both are an integral part of American society.

And secondly, I think the portrayal of Jews and Christians in mainstream American media is also simplified. Although characters are often nominally identified as Jewish or Christian, in that they themselves or other characters call them "Jewish" or "Christian", in the programmes themselves, there seems to be very little that they do or that is said about them that would actually identify them as such.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:46 am

dhammafriend wrote:I think it's safe to say that the American media / entertainment complex is the most far reaching on the planet. Millions of people all over the globe have been exposed to shows like Modern Family, Boardwalk Empire, Keeping up with the Kardashians etc


Hi dhammafriend,

I live in the UK, I rarely watch TV , I don't have 'Skye', I'm not familiar with the programme you mentioned and I don't watch sitcoms or movies.What would be the point - its just filling ones time with other peoples fantasies. To be honest, its never occured to me whether Buddhists are fairly represented in the media or not.

The various Buddhist traditions and different schools are very diverse and don't always even agree with each on everything . Therefore, if there was some kind of standard "buddhist" in the media it might not necessarily be an accurate portrayal anyway.

Turning off the TV more often Is my suggestion. :)

.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:45 am

dhammafriend wrote:I think it's safe to say that the American media / entertainment complex is the most far reaching on the planet. Millions of people all over the globe have been exposed to shows like Modern Family, Boardwalk Empire, Keeping up with the Kardashians etc

Actually, I think that American media has become much less important globally in recent times than it used to be a few decades ago. Most countries now have their own entertainment industry. If you go to Thailand or China, for example, you'll find that there are hundreds of channels of local content on TV in their own language... Same goes for music and cinema...

So your concerns about balance in American media may be important for Americans, or for small English-speaking countries like mine which still import a lot of TV. But not so much for the rest of the world...

:anjali:
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby dhammafriend » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:49 am

To be fair (although my knowledge of these things is mostly a bit old, I'm not particularly up-to date with what goes on on American tv) the representation of Muslims from traditional Muslim countries, as well as Hindus from traditional Hindu countries is also very scarce or non-existent in popular American tv programmes,...

Thanks Binocular for your thoughtful post, agree here. For me its not about frequency of representation rather its how they are represented: i.e. as normal tax paying Americans who are your neighbors etc. Rather than evil Muslims blowing people up or Exotic Asian monks dispensing crazy wisdom.

What would be the point

I get to see representations of myself on television and other media (I am a mixed race minority). I feel included in my society, my (former) religious tradition and cultural is recognized etc. I'm not seen as a visitor, fresh of the boat.

Turning off the TV more often Is my suggestion.

TV gets turned off regularly I can assure you. I'm currently in advertising so am also exposed to a lot of stuff at work. I'm going to a hell realm for sure! :smile:

This is probably because the vast majority of Asian Americans are in fact culturally indistinguishable from anyone else......and quite frankly the possibility that an Asian American might be Buddhist is not something that most Americans really want to know about because it is alien to most Americans who think that Buddhism is a form of idol worship...

Where the heck is this coming from Chownah? I can't even reply to this, the lapse in logic is so profound.

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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby Ben » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:56 am

dhammafriend wrote:I'm going to a hell realm for sure! :smile:


I think hell is full.
Just keep walking on the path - you'll be fine.
kind regards,

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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:18 pm

dhammafriend wrote:
This is probably because the vast majority of Asian Americans are in fact culturally indistinguishable from anyone else......and quite frankly the possibility that an Asian American might be Buddhist is not something that most Americans really want to know about because it is alien to most Americans who think that Buddhism is a form of idol worship...

Where the heck is this coming from Chownah? I can't even reply to this, the lapse in logic is so profound.

Dhammafriend

Do you think that in New York walking down the sidewalk or in a department store or through a restaurant that you could successfully indicate which Asian Americans are Christian and which are Buddhist and which are none of the above? Guaranteed you can't for the vast majority.

Do you think that the average American TV viewer gives a whit about Buddhism? Guaranteed they don't.

You also asked:
"In my country we have representation of one particular Dharmic faith throughout or media. We have them depicted in TV serials, soaps, etc as fully formed characters. Is Wendy Wu really the best American media has to offer Asian American Buddhists? Or are they not American enough to warrant representation? Any thoughts?"

My answer is that I guess that Wendy Wu is as good as it gets althought the movie Gran Tourino (overall mediocre bad) had one fairly reasonable representation of an Asian American.

Also, I think you are getting it backwards in that it is not that they are not American enough, it is that they are too American to require representation of their religious beliefs........TV audiences in America are not very interested in watching things to do with religion.....and frankly it seems pretty much the same here in Thailand.

chownah

P.S. Don't be too concerned with the lapse in logic.....it can probably be reversed by just cutting down on time viewing TV.
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Last edited by chownah on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:24 pm

Aloka wrote:What would be the point

dhammafriend wrote:I get to see representations of myself on television and other media (I am a mixed race minority). I feel included in my society, my (former) religious tradition and cultural is recognized etc. I'm not seen as a visitor, fresh of the boat.


I meant what would be the point in watching sitcoms and movies myself, I wasn't refering to you. Sorry for any misunderstanding .

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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby binocular » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:41 pm

chownah wrote:P.S. Don't be too concerned with the lapse in logic.....it can probably be reversed by just cutting down on time viewing TV.

and/or by rethinking the relevance that media portrayal has in one's life. Letting go of the hope that happiness and wellbeing are to be found in "life as it is usually lived". Letting go of trying to find some happiness and wellbeing in being recognized as a Buddhist by non-Buddhists.

I think that pretty much the only reason why it could matter to one whether Buddhists (Asian American or any other) are adequately represented in the media is because one deep down isn't all that comfortable with being a Buddhist and/or isn't all that convinced about the efficacy of the Buddhist path.

If there's anyone in this world who has a solid basis for understanding that happiness and wellbeing are _not_ to be found outside, in the world, it is precisely Buddhists.
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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby dhammafriend » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:43 pm

P.S. Don't be too concerned with the lapse in logic.....it can probably be reversed by just cutting down on time viewing TV...

Oh snap! OK you win. :bow:

I meant what would be the point in watching sitcoms and movies myself

Who told you to watch sitcoms and movies? :shrug:

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Re: The Case of the Invisible Buddhist

Postby dhammafriend » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:51 pm

I think that pretty much the only reason why it could matter to one whether Buddhists (Asian American or any other) are adequately represented in the media is because one deep down isn't all that comfortable with being a Buddhist and/or isn't all that convinced about the efficacy of the Buddhist path.

Cannot agree. You are reaching here my friend. The fact that you came to that conclusion actually says a lot about what your assumptions are.
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